Category : Research and Foodways News

Join us for Ales Through The Ages, October 19-21, 2018

Posted on: May 21st, 2018

 

Join us for an exciting weekend of beer and history! Beer is the oldest recorded recipe in the world. The ancient Egyptians first documented the brewing process on papyrus scrolls around 5,000 B.C. Then, beer eventually made its way from the Middle East across the Mediterranean to Europe, where it became an integral part of life and was valued both for its nutritional value and as a safe alternative to contaminated drinking water. Beer arrived in the New World with the first European colonists and Americans have been brewing ever since.

Ales through the Ages offers a journey through the history of beer with some of the world’s top beer scholars. We will explore ancient ales and indigenous beers of the past, examine the origins of brewing and discover the ingredients brewers have used through time. Don’t miss your …

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Yams and Sweet Potatoes are the Same Thing, Right?

Posted on: May 15th, 2018

 

The simple answer would be no.

Today in the United States the USDA requires the name yam to be joined with the word sweet potato. But, true yams are a form of an edible tuber and a monocot (having one embryonic seed leaf) from the Dioscoreaceae family. Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are a dicot (having two embryonic seed leaves) and are from the Convolvulacea family, or morning glory family. So then, where did the origins of the name yam come from? By the 1580’s the word igname, from the Portuguese word inhame, or Spanish igname, originated from a West African language. It was a mispronunciation of the term “to eat” and is probably the source of the American word “yam”.

There are hundreds of varieties of yams, with most of them grown in Africa, …

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What’s Going On?

Posted on: March 29th, 2018

From time to time we’d like to let you know what’s going on with Historic Foodways. March has been quite a busy month for us.

 

 

On Tuesday, March 13, 2018 we had a group of six graduate students from Washington College join us for a week of hands-on learning. The students were a part of a partnered program between Colonial Williamsburg and Washington College. During their visit, the students participated in a variety of hands-on learning experiences that centered on the life of a Revolutionary war soldier: from the foundry, coopers, and artificers to the shoemakers, blacksmiths and the Palace kitchen. During their two hours with Journeyman Kimberly Costa the students learned the importance of chocolate as, not only a breakfast drink, but for medicinal uses and military rations. The students went through all stages of making chocolate, …

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A Curious Way to Make an Omelet

Posted on: February 28th, 2018

Kimberly Costa, Journeyman, Historic Foodways

Sweetbreads en Gordineere

From The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse, 1788 edition

Take three sweetbreads and parboil them, take a stew-pan and lay layers of bacon or ham and veal, over that lay the sweetbreads on with the upper side downwards, put a layer of veal and bacon over them, a pint of veal broth, three or four blades of mace, stew them gently three quarters of an hour; take the sweetbreads out, strain off the gravy through a sieve, and skim off the fat; make an aumlet of yolks of eggs in the following manner: beat up four yolks of eggs, put two in a plate, and put them over a stew pan of water boiling over the fire, put another plate over it, and it will soon be …

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Puff vs. Rough: Exploring 18th Century Puff Pastry

Posted on: January 17th, 2018

 

Puff Paste, or pastry as we know it today, can be found in literally hundreds of published and non-published cookery books during the 18th century. Though the proportion of butter and eggs differ, what does not is the technique of working the butter into the dough to produce butter filled layers of dough that will crisp when baked.

So what the difference between a puff pastry and a rough puff? Rough puff is a modern short-cut method of cutting the butter into the flour to form a lump of dough full of butter chunks. This mass is then rolled out and folded in a series of turns, just like a puff. But a true puff will have a small addition of butter to the dough, not all at once.  A dough must be made from flour, water and …

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Move the Pumpkin Pie!

Posted on: November 20th, 2017

People have always had celebrations of Thanksgiving: from the Continental Congress proclaiming the first Thanksgiving in 1777, to the final adaptation in 1941 of the third Thursday in November as our National American Holiday. It is both relatively modern and quietly ancient at the same time. These events would have been as individual as those who chose to celebrate them. One could give thanks for so many things- a substantial crop yield, the return to health of a loved one, a good investment, the birth of a child, to celebrate or to promote the coming year’s crops, on and on and on.

Though we don’t celebrate what visitors know today as a modern Thanksgiving at either of our kitchens, the manner in which we dine on this national holiday is as close as modern Americans will come to an 18…

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Special Programming Schedule to Highlight a Wide Variety of Interests in 2018

Posted on: November 6th, 2017

The Historic Foodways Staff is proud to present our schedule for special programming for 2018.  These programs highlight staff specialties, interest and showcase our on going research and study projects. Mark the dates and join us!

 

A Cook’s Walking Tour

Wednesday March 14, 2018

Wednesday April 18, 2018

Wednesday Sept 12, 2018

Wednesday Oct 17, 2018

1:00- 2:00 p.m.

 

Guests visiting our historic sites see lovely, pristine homes in fair order. But, did you ever wonder about the messy parts of life? Take a guided tour with a member of Historic Foodways to explore the often private world of food preparation in an 18th century city. Guests will visit a variety of original out buildings and sites, including smoke houses, dairies, kitchens and bake ovens.  Learn what it was like to live and work as a cook …

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The Making of a Journeyman

Posted on: September 12th, 2017

Colonial Williamsburg offers a very unique and historically accurate Apprentice program as part of Historic Trades. Apprentices are required to complete a series of projects and research in order to attain status of Journeyman, including Historic Foodways. Our apprentice program is made up of five levels, with each level requiring us to prepare twenty five different recipes, a minimum of five times, or until they were deemed correct. Over the course of those five levels that equates to a 125 different recipes, with a minimum total of 625 individual dishes. Not all of the recipes are a dish that is placed on display, but are condiments such as English ketchup or a strong stock called a cullis, which are vital to our cooking.   There is also required reading, research projects, special event planning and participation, presentations and lectures, in-house and …

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All Roads Lead Home: Foodways Returns to the Wythe Kitchen

Posted on: April 6th, 2017

Lydia Broadnax

For the past fifteen years Historic Foodways has moved throughout the Historic Area, interpreting and cooking in a variety of kitchens: the Palace, the Randolph, and most recently the Anderson Armory. We are happy to announce that Historic Foodways is back home, working and cooking in the Wythe and Palace kitchens.

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Rolling Out Theme Days With Pie!

Posted on: March 6th, 2017

GR PieHistoric Foodways is proud to introduce a new series of programs we are affectionately calling Theme Days. Each month staff will prepare dishes using a specific type of food or an ingredient, delving deeper into its history and uses and giving our guests a more in-depth and engaging experience. To kick off Theme Days, Historic Foodways will be celebrating Pi Day on March 14, 2017 by making, what else, but pies!

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